The American Bridge Teacher’s Association named Laura Delfeld of Austin TX the 2014 ABTA-Masterpoint Press Teacher of the Year. Linda Lee of Masterpoint Press, the co-sponsor with ABTA of the award, presented Delfeld with a plaque and monetary prize.
Delfeld is a full-time teacher actively involved in Unit 207 in Austin. She teaches a weekly mini- lesson to newcomers, usually attracting around 15 tables. She also offers eight-week training sessions.
Delfeld said she thinks of bridge as a “very life-enhancing opportunity.” Her students, many of whom are between 55 and 60, are looking for something novel. Some are drawn to the game for the social element which Delfeld emphasizes in a strong zero-tolerance environment. Others are attracted to learning a new skill and the mental stimulation of the game. Regardless of their motives, Delfeld said, the trick “is to get them hooked before they can get discouraged.”
In her lessons, she focuses mostly on card play. Her students are more engaged when they are able to play instructional hands during thelessons instead of when she writes diagrams on a whiteboard.
Delfeld starts thenewcomers with a basic bidding system and adds pieces at a time. She remarked that her students immediately improve their game after they learn takeout doubles.
Delfeld was the winner this year over four other qualified candidates: Kathy Rolfe of Lake Winnebago MO, Joyce Ryan of Houston TX, Vicky Shelley of St. George UT and Richard Logan.